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The Plains Indians

a review by Michael McEntee

On Thursday, February 27th, Schuyler School had a fascinating assembly on the Plains Indians. Here is some of the information we learned:


You might think that tepees were round like a circle, actually they are more egg-shaped. They could be up to 18 feet long and 14 feet wide and held up to 20 family members. Tepees were good homes for the Plains Indians beacause they were always moving, except in the winter season. They didn't move in the winter because it was too cold and the ground was too hard to walk across with all the snow. It was a surprise to hear that when they did move the tepee the women were the ones who packed up camp! Now, before you guys start to feel good about yourselves, I think you should also know that the women owned everything in the village, except for the man's weapons. They thought that if a women should ever touch a weapon it would lose it's magical power and wouldn't work anymore.

Weapons and Hunting

Men used weapons mainly to hunt buffalo, and they only hunted twice a year. Buffalo hunting was very dangerous, so Indians often tried to find other ways to do it. One way is called a buffalo jump. The Indians would put wolf furs over themselves and sneak close to the buffalo. When they were close enough they would give a signal and chase what they thought was the leader or head buffalo off a cliff and because he was the leader all of the other buffalo would follow - that is the buffalo jump. Another way they killled the buffalo was to chase the buffalo and make they go in a circle. The indians would ride along the outside of the the circle and shoot as many buffalo as they could.


Did you know that the Indians had a use for every part of the buffalo?

Here are some:

After being washed out, stomachs were used as pots.

They used the teeth for beads on women's dresses.

They used the bones for tools.

Skins were used for robes, shields and tepee covers.

Leather was made by rubbing the brain on raw hide.

They used the blood for black paint.

Tails were used as fly swatters.

They boiled the hooves down and used it as glue.

Ribs were used for hammers, knives, and bow handles.

And you better believe it 'cause I'm not lying, they used buffalo poop for

a substance something like charcoal!